A few months ago, my brother Faiz drew my attention to a very short manuscript of a book consisting of fifteen letters by Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī. I found it very beautiful, I loved it, and I decided to edit it and translate it into English. I am delighted to announce the publication of the translation.
In these letters, Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qādir describes spiritual experiences and knowledge that are attained through striving against one’s base desires and committed devotion to Allah. They are written in a mystical language, using a peculiar style whereby each sentence or group of sentences is followed by a related Qur’anic text. This is an example:
Be afraid of:
The Day on which the person flees from his brother, mother, father, spouse, and sons, (80.34-36)
—and think of the reckoning of:
Whether you show what inside your souls or hide it Allah will reckon with you for it. (2.284)
The letters effectively represent a Sufi experiential interpretation of the quoted Qur’anic verses. I have added a commentary to the text, but I have also kept it succinct and focused on my understanding of the main points of the text without any attempt to delve deeper into it. This should reduce the possibility of any misunderstanding that is likely to happen as a result of any further elaboration. While small in size, this exceptionally charming and poetically beautiful work is immensely profound.
I used three manuscripts to edit and translate the book. The first is in King Saud University in Saudi Arabia, the second is in the Bodleian Library at Oxford University, UK, and the third is kept in the Special Collections Library at Michigan University, USA.
For more information about and from the book, please visit this page here. The book can be ordered from Amazon.com for shipping from the USA, from Amazon.co.uk for shipping from the UK, or from other Amazon sites.